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Give borders an autumn boost

It’s easy to inject fresh colour and vigour into your borders in early autumn by planting some hardy perennials in full bloom. Not only will they look good immediately, but they’ll also give repeat performances for years to come. 

You’ll find a vibrant array of seasonal plants on sale in garden centres and DIY stores throughout autumn. Choose larger plants for immediate impact, rather than buying smaller ones by mail-order, as these won’t perform for several years. Great autumn perennials to look out for include:


Pink Michaelmas daisies

Michaelmas daisies

These simple daisy blooms are available in shades of white, blue and pink. Plant them in flower in the middle or back of borders, where they can take over from early summer perennials growing in front.

A close-up of pink-flowered Sedum spectabile

Sedum spectabile

As well as succulent leaves, this plant produces pretty pink flowers. Bees and butterflies love this late supply of nectar. Varieties are available in several sizes, with green, grey or purple-tinged foliage.

Pink Japanese anemone flowers

Japanese anemones

These stately perennials enjoy full sun or partial shade, gradually spreading once established. Add plenty of compost to the planting hole to encourage their fibrous roots to grow deeply, and keep them well watered.

Blue flowers of Caryopteris 'Dark Night'

Caryopteris

With fluffy blue flowers and aromatic leaves, this perennial grows to 1m tall and likes a warm, sheltered spot. The flowers attract bees and butterflies. When planting, tease out the roots if they look congested.

A close-up of a Chinese blue gentian, Gentiana sino-ornata

Chinese blue gentian

This low-growing hardy perennial, Gentiana sino-ornata, produces rich blue trumpets over a spreading carpet of green leaves. It needs acid soil – if you don’t have this, then grow it in a shallow pot of ericaceous compost.




Discuss this plant feature

Talkback: Give borders an autumn boost
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DianaW 16/10/2013 at 13:07

Don't forget to include ceratostigma for their wonderful combination of red autumn foliage and brilliant blue flowers.
Good grown in pots, as they trail a bit and, once the display is over, just cut down all the top growth and move to an inconspicuous corner.

Busy-Lizzie 16/10/2013 at 17:56

I have it already, in a flower bed, spread a bit, needs controlling, but lovely.

nutcutlet 16/10/2013 at 18:31

Mine's in a pot because I had to remove it from the garden for new drains. It looks great and will stay in a pot

Verdun 16/10/2013 at 19:20

Yes lovely shrubs.  Had Griffithi once.......richer flowers and evergreen.  Get a red dahlia behind it, a red echinacea or a coreopsis....yellow or red.....alongside it.  Or hackonochloa in front.......

Right now willmottianum is strutting it's stuff beautifully.  It is good in a pot as said but in the ground it makes a far bigger impact.

Grow many, many blue flowered plants....right now caryopteris in several varieties, campanulas, agastaches, verbena rigida, salvias in variety, linum perenne, and blue penstemon still in flower.  Did I say I like blue? 

nutcutlet 16/10/2013 at 19:55

We didn't discuss which ceratostigma we were talking about. I'd assumed plumbaginoides because of the red. But are we?

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